You see it every time you walk into a smoothie bar. Heck, you can smell it from the doorway. Even fancy coffee houses smell like it — fresh-cut grass. But where’s it coming from?
It’s coming from that cookie sheet in the corner. The one with literal grass growing on it. Like mowing your lawn, prepping a shot of wheatgrass smells good. But does that mean it’s good for you?
Read on to find out.
What Is Wheatgrass?
If you’ve not tried it, wheatgrass is the immature grass shoot of a plant called Triticum Aestivum. It’s also referred to as wheat plant. It’s a vibrant green and its juice has become a major “health” trend. Wheatgrass shots have been around since the 1930s — believe it or not.
While you can purchase wheatgrass in a can, powdered, or frozen, you’ll find it most often as a shot of fresh-pressed juice.
Some call this liquified shot of green a “miracle cure”. Thing is… wheatgrass is not all it’s cracked up to be, and can actually be dangerous to your health.
Does Wheatgrass Contain Lectins?
Some experts warn that wheatgrass may damage your digestive system due to a lectin called wheat germ agglutinin (WGA). This is a fallacy.
It’s true, WGA can damage your digestive system.1 WGA may cross the intestinal border and provoke an immune response.2 WGA has also been known to act like insulin and pump sugar into fat cells, which could lead to weight gain.3,4
However, wheatgrass leaves – the part of the plant that you consume – do not contain the lectin WGA. WGA is only present in wheatgrass seeds and roots.5
If harvested correctly when the leaves are young and the gluten-containing seeds are still below ground, wheatgrass does not contain lectins.6
That said, wheatgrass is easily contaminated with seeds due to poor harvesting practices or shared equipment.7 Because of the dangers of WGA, those with lectin sensitivities are better off avoiding it.
Is Wheatgrass Beneficial For Health?
Not really. First of all, marketers claim that you can skip servings of veggies the rest of the day if you can work a wheatgrass shot into your daily food regimen. But, this particular green juice can only give you the equivalent of 3 oz of veggies.
But the CDC recommends up to 3 cups of vegetables a day— and Dr. Gundry suggests even more! 8 Three cups equal 24 ounces! Where will that missing 21 ounces come from? 7 more shots of wheatgrass? That could cost you anywhere between $25 and $40. Not to mention the digestive discomfort this could cause. No thank you.
Is The Chlorophyll In Wheatgrass Healthy For Your Blood Cells?
People who swear by wheatgrass’s benefits say that the chlorophyll in wheatgrass can mysteriously enhance the health of your blood cells. Oh yes. That makes tons of sense, right? Wrong!
Why do people make such a ridiculous claim? Well, structurally chlorophyll is similar to hemoglobin. And hemoglobin does perform an important function for your blood. It transports oxygen within your bloodstream. And chlorophyll is kind of the same in structure but doesn’t transport oxygen.
How Does Chlorophyll Work?
So, even though chlorophyll doesn’t carry oxygen through your bloodstream something that looks like it does. So, it’s beneficial by association. Because that’s how life works. NOT. Remember learning about photosynthesis in your grade school biology class?
You were taught chlorophyll transforms energy from the sun’s rays into chemical energy in a process called photosynthesis. Yes, this is accurate. And humans do rely on photosynthesis. Humans and other species need plants to manufacture carbohydrates from water and carbon dioxide.
However, though chlorophyll is necessary for a major process in nature, it does nothing for YOUR body.
Chlorophyll is LIKE hemoglobin, but chlorophyll is NOT hemoglobin… end of story.
Are There ANY Benefits Of Wheatgrass?
Again, we’re dealing with association only. You see, chlorophyll can be found in certain nutrient-dense foods. For instance, leafy greens are vitamin-rich and do contain chlorophyll. So, yes, chlorophyll is maybe a neighbor of some good vitamins and minerals in certain natural foods. But wheatgrass is not one of those foods.
There is research, but it’s not helpful. That’s because the trials are inconsistent and inconsequential. For instance, there may be “no real adverse effects of wheatgrass”, but some individuals report being unable to tolerate it.9 And when have you ever heard that chlorophyll is an essential nutrient? You haven’t.
Also, the human body isn’t built to digest wheatgrass. If it were, we’d all be picnicking on the lawn –– and literally eating the lawn!
What About The Enzymes In Wheatgrass?
Let’s talk about enzymes. An enzyme is a protein. And these particular proteins can be catalysts for biochemical reactions in your body. These reactions motor several of your body’s biophysical functions.
Now, the enzymes in plants are there to defend the plant. You may be wondering, “Defend the plant against what?” Enzymes are meant to defend the plant against predators, like you!
In order to eat the plant, you’ve got to kill it. And plants, like all life, want to live and do what they must in order to survive.
Lots of different enzymes are actually inhibitors of digestion. Plants figure if you don’t enjoy eating them — and suffer through digesting them — you won’t return to eat their plant families. These enzymes block the absorption of nutritional materials by the animals that eat them.10 And people are animals too. Can you blame plants for trying?
So, Is Wheatgrass Bad For You?
It’s not good for you. There’s no reason to spend your hard-earned cash on wheatgrass.
For more information about what’s wrong with wheatgrass, click the link below. You’ll see, the claims are just plain wrong.